Friday, February 15, 2008

Drumroll please....

Rose & Duke is open for business!

I love the way the site turned out, and I have more products that I'll be adding to the site when they're ready.

Today I was thrilled to see that Rose & Duke got a mention on my favorite blog about web shops for kid's stuff: Bloesem kids.

I must warn you to hide your wallet before checking her site out. Every store she highlights sells the loveliest handmade items for children. It's addictive for shopaholics like myself.

In mail news January was a pretty exciting month over here. I won a contest on Chet & Dot's blog and check out the booty I received from Jenn:
That's right gals! I got a free Chet and Dot drawstring bag, a kleenex pack holder, a scalloped-edge wallet, a mini spool of twine, a bookmark, and my favorite, a tiny penguin ornament. I tell you it was better than Ed McMahon showing up at my door with balloons.

But wait, there's more! Last month I fell in love with a new blog, Elsa Mora. I found Elsita through the flickr embroidery group, but she also makes spectacular porcelain sculptures, detailed dresses, jewelry, and prints. Anyhow, Elsa highlighted one of the prints she made on her blog (it's called Motivations) and I commented that I wanted to purchase it when it went into her etsy shop.

Instead of putting it in the shop she sent it to me! I got it to frame and give to Joe for his classroom, although I'm looking forward to the summer when I get to have it back.

Lastly, I had pretty much given up hope of ever receiving my swap package from the Montessori by Hand holiday traditions swap. I sent my package out on the mid-December deadline, and when mine hadn't arrived before I left town for the holidays, I wrote to my swap partner. She had apparently accidentally sent my package to the wrong address and it was returned to her. Anyhow, it finally made it to me in late January and inside were some recipes, some truffles, and this adorable acorn hat family. Emily also included an envelope with some other acorn hats so that I could make my own. I have to admit these were worth the wait!

And here's another reason for a drum roll, after staying home with Harlan full-time since he was born I've finally gone back to work part-time. Now that Harlan has acclimated to Montessori school, I'm going to work at my own school each morning. I'm tutoring junior high students at a near by public school in a rural area that I had never been to before. It's only fifteen minutes away from my central Austin neighborhood, but you would never know you were right next to a city based on all the fields that stretch to the horizon. The weird thing is that it's kind of a rural ghetto. There may be expansive fields on either side of the two-lane road, but every few fields there is one filled with something like a row of pink dumpsters, a gentleman's club, or a cluster of mobile homes with cardboard window coverings (and yes, they are occupied). I'll have to start taking some pictures to add to the rural decay flickr group. There are some truly spectacular shots in this group, like this one, and this one, and this one.

It feels good to be back at work, not just because it gets me out of the house, but because as some of you may know I was suffering from stomach issues and ensuing panic attacks when I was in graduate school (and pregnant with Harlan). I was tutoring at a public school back in NYC at the time and it became physically impossible for me to continue the work I was doing as well as attending my classes. I could not get on a subway. I was positive I was going to need a bathroom or that there would be a bomb on the train, or that there would be a bomb scare and the train would stop and I would need a bathroom and not be able to get to one. I could not stop thinking about the people who were on the subway both during 9-11 and during the blackout a couple of summers later when subway riders were trapped for hours. It was a very rough period in my life, both because of the physical and emotional issues I was having, and because of how difficult it was for me to get those around me to understand that I was in a legitimate crisis and not able to control what was happening to my body. While panic attacks are common, people who have never had one can't really grasp how terrifying they are, and how much they can limit one's ability to function. In my personal situation, the panic attacks were a direct result of the stomach issues I was having during my pregnancy, and once Harlan was born, the fear of having more panic attacks did not help my stomach functionality return to normal. It became a case of the chicken and the egg whenever I had to give up control and get on a subway or bus or in a car, and I retreated into a safe and wonderful world in Fort Greene where I was lucky enough to be able to surround myself with compassionate and intelligent mama friends. For Harlan's first year I was never alone, and I never had to explain to anyone why I couldn't get on a subway and come meet them. I was also lucky enough to have Joe support me and believe that I would get better. He never pressured me to get on a subway that I couldn't get on, or to "try this or try that" as many other well-intentioned loved ones suggested.

I was not a stranger to the world of panic attacks when I became pregnant with Harlan. Back when I graduated college and began my first job teaching at a school for children with emotional and learning disabilities, I experienced panic attacks for the first time. This first time too, stomach issues were involved, as was the fear of getting on public transportation. The school was two very long bus-rides away from my house and I was lucky enough to have a best friend who drove me to work at the crack of dawn each morning, even though she had no reason to be up that early. Our friendship ended years later, but I will always be thankful for her help during my first crisis. I suppose I have been very lucky during both periods in my life when I was full panic-crisis-mode. If I had had to experience either time without such wonderful friends and loved ones, I'm not sure I would have made it through to the other side. Anyhow, the point of my divulging all of this personal information to the world is that my being able to take myself to work each morning means that it's finally over, and that I'm officially back in the world of the fully-functioning. For the most part I kept my crisis to myself, because it was difficult to explain and also because it was shameful. In retrospect I can't understand why I felt ashamed except that I was afraid of being judged. I suppose I'm not anymore.